Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy--What if... A Whopper of a Tale of the VanGilder chair

The topic for the 69th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: What if... This is your chance to rewrite history! Have you ever imagined your ancestor playing a major roll in history? Perhaps you've envisioned them singlehandedly winning the American Revolution, going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or inventing the flutaphone. This is your chance to write a bit of fiction about your ancestor to delight and entertain us. It is the April Fools edition after all! This edition will be hosted by Bill West at West in New England). The deadline for submissions is April 1st so start spinning your tall tales!

My great great grandfather, John Oliphant VanGilder, was apprenticed as a wagon wheel maker when he was young. From wagon wheels, he progressed to making furniture, specifically, chairs. The VanGilder chair was well constructed and respected in and around the Morgantown, (West) Virginia area in the early 1860’s. John’s chairs gained in popularity and orders began to arrive from various dealers around the 40 states and territories. Even while the Civil War raged on, John had orders from both the north and south.

One day an order came from Washington D.C. John T. Ford, owner of Ford’s Theater had heard of the comfort and durability of the VanGilder chair and asked John to hand make chairs for the box seat section of his theater as part of a refurbishing. There would be both rocking chairs and comfortable armchairs for the box seats.

It took one year for John to hand make the chairs. The order was delivered to the Ford Theater on March 1, 1865. A month later, on April 14, 1865, during the theater performance of Our American Cousin, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. It was a VanGilder rocking chair that he was sitting on as the bullet hit his head .

My great grandfather was so distraught by this event that he never made another chair and turned to farming.


The truth—John VanGilder was apprenticed as a wheel wright as a young man. He did make chairs in his own shop and he did farm following his days working for the Hennen Furniture Factory in Morgantown, West Virginia. And this portion of his life did happen in the 1860’s.

Tombstone Tuesday--Sarah R. McElroy VanGilder

Sarah R McElroy
Wife of
Jacob VanGilder
June 11, 1797:
Feb 8, 1881

     I have wanted to find this cemetery and locate my paternal great great great grandmother’s burial site for years. Back around 1997, another VanGilder sent me a note listing Sarah’s cemetery site. Another researcher, in March, 1982 found the information while working in Kingwood County Count House, Preston County, West Virginia1. Well, it took me until last summer, July 2008, while vacationing in West Virginia, to finally make it to Union Cemetery in Preston County.

     The Union Cemetery is located on a hill between Independence and Gladesville in the Lyon District of Preston County, West Virginia. It appears that a family member added the current tombstone as there is a smaller one with the initials SRV directly in front of the newer marker.

     Thank goodness for modern technology and my brother, Ken’s, Garmin. It directed us to the cemetery without any mistakes. Once there, the search was on. It was my husband, Ted, who first located Sarah’s marker. My husband indulges my cemetery wanderings for a brief amount of time, so his finding the marker quickly meant I could get the photos and be on our way! Although on this trip my two brothers were also along and they had more than a passing interest in the find.

Great Great Great Grandchildren

     Sarah R. McElroy was born on June 11, 1797,2 in Maryland to Thomas and Elizabeth McElroy (sometimes written Muckleroy). From early Monongalia County tax records, it appears that the McElroy’s removed to the Morgantown, (West) Virginia area between 1800-18043. They lived at the Forks of Cheat near Cheat Lake (which is exactly where we vacationed!). 

     Sarah married Jacob VanGilder on April 25, 1825 in Monongalia County4. The Van Gilder’s had four children: Eliza J VanGilder, John Oliphant VanGilder, Mary Isabel VanGilder, and Rebecca A. VanGilder. Jacob died before 1840, leaving Sarah to raise and provide for the four children. 

     Shown on the 1850 census, Sarah is living in the Eastern District of Monongalia County, (West) Virginia with her two daughters, Eliza J. and Rebecca A.  None of them are working.  Sarah lists the value of her owned property as $1,800.

     To date, I have not found Sarah's 1860 census record.

     In 1870 and 1880, Sarah was living with her daughter, Eliza J. VanGilder Jenkins and family in Prunty Town, Taylor County, West Virginia.  

Register of Deaths
Taylor County, West Virginia
Volume 2
page 19

     VanGilder, Sarah, died Feb 8 1881, in Taylor Co, from fall on ice, age 84, parents unknown, occupation is housekeeping, consort of Jacob, informant was Frank Jenkins, son-in-law.

    As shown on the death record, Sarah died on February 8, 1881 from a fall on the ice in Grafton at age eighty-four.  Since she died in Grafton, the question came to mind, why was she buried in this small cemetery, in rural Preston County? Perhaps the answer is that her youngest daughter, Rebecca VanGilder Church lived in the Lyon District and Sarah chose to be buried there. I did not look to see if Rebecca Church was buried in that cemetery…perhaps on another visit.

     Sarah VanGilder's tombstone is located under a tree near the top of the hill on the left hand side of the cemetery. The burial markers surrounding Sarah are broken and illegible. Perhaps her daughter's marker or other family members are among them. There was also a broken grave marker sitting on top of Sarah's.

Updated September, 2022


1. "Preston County Journal," Kingwood County Court House, Kingwood, West Virginia.

2. Tombstone of Sarah McElroy VanGilder, Union Cemetery, Preston County, Lyon District, West Virginia.

3. Monongalia County, (West) Virginia 1804 Tax List, page 124.

4. Monongalia County, West Virginia Marriage Records, page 70.

References Used

 -1850 Virginia Federal Census, The Eastern District Number 36, Monongalia County, page 263.

 -1870 West Virginia Federal Census, Prunty Town, Grafton, Taylor County, page 23 (166). 

 -1880 West Virginia Federal Census, Grafton, Taylor County, ED 81, page 23 (311).

-Taylor County Death Record, Volume 2, page 19, line 165.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Monday, March 30, 2009

MONDAY MADNESS--Edna May Frederick Zeigler Gween

As you may have read on several of my other blogs, this Frederick clan is driving me mad. I have done three of these on my grandmother’s siblings! AND, I am not going back into history all that far, just the early to mid 1900’s.

Edna with my mother

Edna May Frederick

Parents: Alfred Frederick and Lucinda B. Orr Frederick1
Birth: August 24, 1876, Columbiana County, Ohio2
Death: January 25, 1961, probably in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania3
Buried: William Penn Memorial Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania4

Harry G. Zeigler, born March 1873 in Pennsylvania5
On the 1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Harry was a shoe clerk in Pittsburgh and he and Edna were living at 5018 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Harry and Edna had one child, a daughter, Mary A. Zeigler6, born 1903 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Edna is enumerated with Harry’s parents on the 1910 Pennsylvania Federal Census report7 and she lists herself as single. Perhaps he died between 1900-1910.

Second Marriage:
Before 1918, Edna married William Clinton Gween, born April 16, 1876 in Pennsylvania8. He was employed by Westinghouse and he and Edna lived at 838 Sheridan Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I lose track of Edna and William in 1930.

Mary A. Zeigler, Edna’s daughter, married Robert B. Quinn, on November 4, 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania9. Robert is the son of Thomas B. Quinn and Mary B. Wells Quinn10. He was born on July 7, 1898 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and died September 1971 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania11.

My mother has told me that later in life, Edna lived with Mary and Robert Quinn. I would take an educated guess that they are all buried at William Penn Cemetery.

Mary and Robert did not have any children, so perhaps there is a Quinn or Gween researcher out there that might have this branch in their family tree, too.

1. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records, Volume 2, Page 61, Number 225.
2. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records.
3. Martha Marie Frederick Stark, Personal Journal.
4. Stark.
5. 1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, ED 234, Sheet 6B.
6. 1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census.
7. 1910 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, ED 418, Sheet 5.
8. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC).
9. Martha Jean Stark Hughes, Interview conducted in 1997.
10. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Application for Marriage License, Docket 115, Page 301.
11. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Application for Marriage License.

Corrected February 7, 2012--Surname was spelled Zeigler not Ziegler.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Graveyard Rabbits Carnival--THE PARTING SHOT

Over at Graveyard Rabbits the topic for the April 2009 edition will be burial customs. Articles could discuss the evolution of customs, unusual customs, customs for the armed services, or customs for a specific religion. Basically anything related to burial customs is fair game.

This one comes second hand….from my husband, an avid golfer.

My husband, Ted, has belonged to a golf league for years. Last summer, while he was teeing it up on the 18th hole, he and his party noticed a long line of golf carts winding their way up the path near a small lake beside the 18th hole.

Play was suspended to see what was happening. Slowly the carts approached the water and stopped. Drivers and riders left the golf carts and drew in a semi-circle near the lake. One fellow stepped forward with an urn, opened it and let the contents fly into the lake. The men and women who were assembled all took out a pitching wedge and a golf ball. The leader counted to three and yelled out FORE and suddenly about 20 golf balls flew into the lake.

The assembled group got back into their golf carts and headed back to the clubhouse.
When my husband and his group finished their round and returned to the clubhouse, they found a memorial celebration in full swing in the 19th hole. It was a momentous send off to a golf buddy.

Wordless Wednesday--Monticello Butterfly

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--William From/William Frum

William From/Frum, my ggggg grandfather, has a memorial tombstone in the Mt. Pisgah Church Cemetery, located on State Route 73 (formerly Smithtown Road) southwest of Morgantown. It is in the back left hand corner of the cemetery. There are also tombstones for other members of his family in the short row, namely, his son William, William's wife, Catherine, unknown Frum and Solomon Frum. This marker was placed at Pisgah for his DAR ceremony. I have been told that his actual burial place is on property that used to be his farm on Toms Run, Monongalia County, West Virginia.

William From was born in Scotland in 1755. He immigrated to America in time to have a role in the Revolutionary War. Muster roles from Maryland list him as a private from Frederick County, Maryland--Middle District in Captain Vallentine Creager's Militia.

There is some mystery as to who William married. Those of us who have done research feel that his wife was Anna Smith, daughter Jeremiah Smith a captain in the French and Indian War from Back Creek, now known as Gore, Virginia in Frederick County. There are records of William in Frederick County, Virginia and the first six of his children were born there. My gggg grandfather, Sampson Smith Frum, inherited a large tract of land owned by Samuel Smith in Frederick County, Virginia leading to the speculation that William From was married to a Smith. William may have married twice, records found to date are inconclusive.

The From family removed to Monongalia County, (West) Virginia by 1790 and four more children were born there.

William owned a number of land parcels in Monongalia County. Land owned included, 134 acres in Monongalia County purchased from William Lanham (another ancestor of mine). This purchase was made on July 28, 1816. His original 87 acres in Monongalia. He also bought another 134 acres from Moses Doolittle with the financial assistance of his son, Sampson Smith Frum.

William died in 1842 in Monongalia County, probably on his farm in the Clinton District.

-1810 Virginia Federal Census, Monongalia County.

-1813 List of Tithables for Monongalia County, Virginia.

-1820 Virginia Federal Census, Monongalia County, Eastern District.

-1830 Virginia Federal Census, Monongalia County, Eastern District.

-Cullen, Ruth, personal letters.

-Jones, Virginia Lee, Pisgah Church Cemetery Readings, Internet, 1996.

-Maryland in DAR Patriot Index, page 253.

-Monongalia County Tax Lists—1804

-Monongalia County Tax Lists—1805

-Monongalia County District, Superior and County Court Records.

-Muster Rolls of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution 1775-1783, page 72.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Madness--Alfred Frederick

Mad ancestors or elusive ancestors who drive US mad" 
Amy Crook of Untangled Family Roots is starting a new meme for those of us researching our ancestors. This will occur each Monday as a recurring meme similar to Tombstone Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday.

Alfred Frederick
Carte de visite
In my possession

     Where oh where did my great grandfather, Alfred F. Frederick die? I have had good success tracing him throughout his life, but his death has been a major stumbling block for well over a decade. He was last living in Avalon, Pennsylvania with his son, Robert B. Frederick. I have photos of him with my Mother in the very early 1920’s. 

     Alfred was a railroad man and perhaps he took a train to visit relatives and died in their home. I will admit that the Frederick family is pretty extended. 

     Alfred F. Frederick. I have only seen his middle initial listed once. I have also seen him referred to as Nick, but I have no idea where that nickname would have come from.

Parents: Joseph C. Frederick and Mary Betz1 both of Columbiana County, Ohio 
Born: May 1, 1836 in Columbiana County, Ohio2 
Died: February 9, 19273 
Buried: Firestone Cemetery, Columbiana County, Ohio4 
Married: Lucinda Orr on October 22, 1868 in Columbiana County, Ohio5 
Children of Alfred Frederick and Lucinda Bell Orr Frederick:
  1. Albert Frederick6—1869-? Another Frederick MIA 
  2. William Walter Frederick7—1871-1899 (died in Youngstown, Ohio) 
  3. Robert Bell Frederick8—1873-1959 (died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 
  4. Edna May Frederick9—1876-1961 (died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 
  5. Martha Marie Frederick10—1880-1971 (died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) My maternal grandmother
      Following Alfred Frederick through the Federal Census: 
1836-1950—Living with his parents in Columbiana County, Ohio11 
1860—Living with his cousin, Sarah Frederick Lepard, Attica, Venice Township, Seneca County, Ohio12 
1870-1898—Columbiana County, Ohio13 
1900—Esplen, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania near McKees Rocks14 
1910—Bellevue, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania15 
1920—Avalon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania16 

     When Alfred died, Albert, if he was alive, could have been living in Chicago, Illinois. Robert, Edna and Martha, all married were living in the Pittsburgh area. Any help will be GREATLY appreciated!!!!

Note:  This is a very early blog.  Much has been found since 2009.  Check out the other Frederick blogs on Flipside.

-FREDERICK, ALFRED and LUCINDA ORR--Marriage Record--Fearless Females #4


-FREDERICK, ALFRED--Train Accident 77th Carnival of Genealogy

-FREDERICK, ALFRED--Monday Madness

-FREDERICK, ALFRED--Place of Death

-FREDERICK FAMILY--Pittsburgh City Directories

-FREDERICK, LUCINDA  BELL ORR--16th Smile for the Camera--Bling

1. 1850 Ohio Federal Census, Columbiana County, Salem Township, District 202.
2. Firestone Cemetery, Columbiana, Columbiana County, Ohio, Old Section 8, Rows 15 & 16.
3. Firestone Cemetery.
4. Firestone Cemetery.
5. Columbiana County Marriage Records, Book # 5, Record 441.
6. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records, Volume 1, Page 76, Number 126.
7. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records, Volume 1, Page 80, Number 208.
8. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records, Volume 2, Page 57, Number 61.
9. Columbiana County Ohio Birth Records, Volume 2, Page 61, Number 225.
10. Ohio Certificate of Birth, Birth Records from the state of Ohio, Columbiana County, Volume 3, Page 55, No. 105 AND Volume 3, Page 55, No. 128.
11. 1850 Ohio Federal Census
12. 1860 Ohio Federal Census, Attica Post Office, Venice Township, Seneca County, Ohio, page 13 (233).
13. 1870 Ohio Federal Census, Franklin Square Post Office, Salem Township, Columbiana County, Page 12 & 13 (310-311) and 1880 Ohio Federal Census, Fairfield Township, Columbiana County, Ohio ED 47, page 40.
14. 1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Allegheny County, Esplen Borough, ED 381, Sheet 5A.
15. 1910 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Allegheny County, Bellevue Borough, ED 13, Sheet 23A.
16. 1920 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Allegheny County, Avalon Borough, ED 5, Sheet 10A.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bound for Mom: Milepost #1--A Journey of Firsts

Beginning March 25, 2009, Geneabloggers will be leading a journey called Bound for Mom. The first mile post: March 25th – A Journey of Firsts. Moms go far and along the way there are so many “firsts” such as first date, first love, first home, first child, and more. Take all of these beginnings and bundle them up into a story of how your Mom got started.

My Mom's FIRST infant photos were featured in a magazine page. The photographer was her uncle Alfred Walter Stark, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My Mom, Martha Jean Stark Hughes was the FIRST and only child. Born on December 4, 1921, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Edward Stark and Martha Marie Frederick. As you can see, Mom and her Mother both shared the same FIRST name. She was the youngest of her generation as her parents were in their 40’s when she was born. My mother grew up in the town of Avalon, Pennsylvania outside Pittsburgh. Mom loved animals and her FIRST dog was named Corky. Mom had a passion for cats. Her FIRST cat was Skitter Cat, which was actually given to me by a boyfriend in the mid 1960's. She did not like dolls, but I know that her FIRST one was a Patsy Ann, popular at that time. I don’t know who her first love was, however she and my Dad went to school together from FIRST grade through high school. My Dad was her FIRST (and only) husband and they were married on November 23, 1943.

One of my mother’s talents was theater. She FIRST became enthused about acting when she won a local speech competition in Avalon as a youngster. Her FIRST acting on a stage came in high school with two class plays. Mom loved to act. She was chosen for shows in Wooster College and after she was married she acted in the local church and community productions. Her FIRST lead for the Hiland Players was in The Royal Family. In the 1970, she was in her FIRST musical, Kismet.

I am her FIRST child and three years after I was born we moved into our FIRST house in Perrysville, a town outside Pittsburgh. Mom bought our FIRST pet, a dog we named Spunky after we moved into the house. She had to learn how to drive when my Dad was called to duty in the Korean conflict, so her FIRST time driving a car would have been in the early 1950’s at age 29.

In 1978, Mom welcomed her FIRST grandchild, Aric Hughes Hiser into the world. Following her divorce in 1981, Mom purchased the FIRST home of her own in Lakewood, Ohio. Moving to Ohio brought with it many FIRSTS as she began a new life on her own—her FIRST credit card in her name, her FIRST self purchased car, and her FIRST self purchased condo. From my perspective the most important FIRST associated with the move was that it was the FIRST time she lived close to her grandchildren. Over the next 19 years she would become an important voice in their lives.

Mom with her sons, Ken and Jeff Hughes and daughter, Linda Hughes Hiser and two grandsons, Aric and Garrett Hiser on a genealogy outing in Columbiana County, Ohio on Christmas Eve.

Martha Jean Stark Hughes

Other blogs in this series:

Bound For Mom #2—Roadside CafĂ©

Bound For Mom #4—The World is Not Flat

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Paternal Grandmother's Patrilineal Line


     This is my first time on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. I have been spending the last week unloading my step mothers apartment and could use a little relaxation. Now that I think about it, a male cousin through the VanGilder line contacted me a couple of years ago saying that he was having his Y-DNA tested. When he received his results it only lead to puzzlement. He found he had Native American genetics.

Provide a list of your paternal grandmother's patrilineal line. Answer these questions:

What was your father's mother's maiden name?
Sarah Margaret VanGilder born March 2, 1898 in Morgantown, West Virginia 

What was your father's mother's father's name? 
George Ethelbert VanGilder born January 27, 1861 in Morgantown, West Virginia 

What is your father's mother's father's patrilineal line? That is, his father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?
-John Oliphant VanGilder born February 22, 1849 in Monongalia County (West) Virginia. 

-Jacob VanGilder born January 20, 1797 in Frederick County, Maryland.

-Jacob VanGilder born May 13, 1752 in the Netherlands.  

This has been disproved through DNA.  The VanGilder line descends from Native Americans.  When family members, who were interested in genealogy back in the early 1900's, particularly women interested in joining the DAR through Jacob's service, they assumed that with the surname VanGilder, that he would naturally have come from the Netherlands.  NOT SO.

Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? 

My grandmother, Sarah Margaret VanGilder Hughes did not have any brothers. 

If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further. 

That would be the brothers of George Ethelbert VanGilder and their sons since George had four daughters. 

-Jacob Young VanGilder--his 3 sons are all deceased and their sons are, too.
-Joseph Hill VanGilder--One of his great grandsons did the DNA test and was surprised to find that he had a Native American gene and we couldn't figure out where it came from.

The Native American Link

     When Ancestry began the option for DNA testing, there was a page of VanGilder tests of male descendants of Jacob VanGilder.  All had a Native American Y-DNA.  A VanGilder cousin of mine, Drew Blattner, has done much research in this area.  His research and story, New VanGilder Branch Confirmed by Y-DNA Testing, was featured on Debra Winchell's blog.

     When I was transferring my genealogy home page from the defunct geocities site, I added some information regarding the Native American link on Jacob VanGilder's story.  At that time, the thought was that Jacob descended from a New York Native American named Toanunck 

Other Websites regarding the VanGilder DNA

VanGilder Dutch or Mohican? from Famiy Tree DNA

Updated September 2022
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Coincidence or Message?

I think all genealogists have occasionally had an incident happen that makes them think that there is a tap…tap...tapping on their head from someone, perhaps a family member, who is now resides on some other plane.

When my Dad moved into St. Barnabas Retirement Apartments, one of his pleasures was to watch the wild turkeys wander about the grassy area behind the building. His enclosed porch looked out on the fish pond and the large expanse of grass. At various times of the day the turkeys would appear looking for food on the grounds. He would delight in taking photos, through the glass window, of the birds. Often, during phone calls, he would mention that he had seen the turkeys out back.

I think in the seven years that he lived at Barnabas, I only saw the turkeys twice. The first sighting was with Dad from the porch early one morning during a visit. The second was following a car trip to Avalon, Pennsylvania, the town where Dad grew up. It was the day after Thanksgiving. Dad’s health was in jeopardy as he was beginning to show signs of increased dementia. He wanted to take a drive….back to see the places he remembered as a child and teenager. As the family genealogist, this was a dream come true. My camera was in the backseat; a full tank of gas and off we went. Dad showed me where he lived on Ohio River Boulevard, where he liked to play, the church the family attended, where he and his father would swim in the Ohio River and on and on. It was a memorable excursion.

When Dad showed some signs of fatigue, we headed back. As we pulled into the St. Barnabas parking lot a flock of wild turkeys crossed in front of my car. Dad and I shared a hearty laugh, when he said, “I guess these birds didn’t make it to anyone’s table yesterday!”

That was the last Thanksgiving we shared with Dad. His dementia advanced to the point by the following holiday that he was in assisted living. A year later he was moved into a nursing home and then on to his heavenly home. All the while he was living elsewhere; he continued to say how much he wanted to get back to Barnabas.

This past week, I closed up the St. Barnabas apartment. My stepmother continued to live there for almost a year and a half after my father’s passing. In February she moved to California to live with her daughter. As I finished the packing and cleaned out the empty rooms following the movers, I would occasionally peek out the windows to see if the turkeys might be outside. No turkeys appeared.

This morning I was up early to return home. I went up to the empty apartment for one final look. Waves of nostalgia swept over me as I closed up what was my home away from home for nine years.

The time had come to go. I grabbed my first load and headed out to the car. As I opened the back door to Barnabas I spotted them. An entire flock of wild turkeys were in front of my car. Three males and at least 20 females were wandering around the grass near the Bocce court.

As luck would have it, my camera was in the first load. The males saw me and flared their tail feathers strutting around the females in a protective manner; however they stayed put and allowed me to shoot away with my camera for several minutes. When I returned with the second car load, they were gone.

Skeptics would say coincidence, but I choose to think it was a final farewell from my Dad as I was leaving his beloved St. Barnabas.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Houston House, Houston, Renfrewshire, Scotland--Wordless Wednesday

     NEVER WORDLESS!!! This my ancestral home in Renfrewshire, Scotland located in the small conservation village of Houston (pronounced House-ton in the states and Whos-ton in Scotland). 

     The large mansion was built in 1872 on the original site of the Houston castle. In 1994 the mansion was converted into six separate houses. The ivy covered building in the front, called the west wing, was for sale when we visited in 2005. This wing incorporates the original northern section of the 13 century castle. 

     To say I was totally blown away when I first stood in front of this building would be an understatement. Just think, I could have purchased a piece of my history for a mere 375,000 pounds!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--Asby Pool

     I have spent the past four days in Pittsburgh closing up my step mother's apartment, so I am late posting this blog. Oddly, for breaks, I was out working in two cemeteries snapping over 600 photos for findagrave. None of them related to me! 

     My paternal great great great great grandfather, Rev. Asby Pool, was an early circuit rider delivering his Methodist message to folks in Pennsylvania, Maryland and what is now West Virginia. 

     He was born on June 04, 1787 to William and Esther Pool in Hampshire, Virginia. He married first Vilender Lanham. Following Vilender's death, he married second, Christina Smith. Asby died in Monongalia County, West Virginia on January 18, 1867. His tombstone is located in the Jerome Park area outside Morgantown in a residential area. I am not certain if the tombstone is there as a memorial or if Asby is actually buried there, although on an old Morgantown map, there is a mark for the Pool Cemetery in the Jerome area.

In Memory of
Rev Asby Pool
and Family

     I intend to write a more extensive blog on Asby in the future.

 -Monongalia County, West Virginia Marriage Records, Book A, page 27. 
 -Monongalia County, West Virginia Marriage Records, Book A, page 49. 
 -Wilkins, Robert Poole, The Poole Family of Hampshire and Monongalia County, West Virginia, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1988, pages 10-15

Updated:  September 7, 2022

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Friday, March 13, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy, 68th Edition--A Tale of Two Grandmothers

In keeping with the month of March being National Women's History Month, and March 8th being International Women's Day, the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will once again be: A Tribute to Women. The next edition will be hosted at Creative Gene.

I have written this blog twice….once for my Mom, which I scrapped since we are doing a special month long blog on our mothers….and once for my paternal grandmother. I must admit it was a special blog, however, when I got up this morning, I felt almost guilty that I did not include my maternal grandmother. So, in all fairness, this is my third attempt and I am honoring both of my grandmothers.

My paternal grandmother, Sarah Margaret VanGilder Hughes, aka Grams, was born on March 2, 1898 in Morgantown, West Virginia to George Ethelbert VanGilder and Jessica Pool VanGilder. Her father died when she was only six. Her mother raised her four daughters and supported them by running boarding houses in Morgantown and the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. See my blog on Jessica Pool VanGilder.

My maternal grandmother, Martha Marie Frederick Stark, aka Teek, was born on April 8, 1880 in Columbiana County, Ohio to Alfred Frederick and Lucinda Orr Frederick. I think Teek lived a pretty good life in Columbiana County. Her father was employed by the railroad and photos and memorabilia left behind all point to solid middle class….if there was such a thing in the late 1800’s!

Neither of my grandmothers learned to drive a car. Neither of them ever owned a house. Both loved their grandchildren, but quite candidly, as the oldest grand child and being a girl, I always felt I had a somewhat special bond with them. They were generous to a fault and we all spent many holidays and special days together. That is where any similarity ends.

My grandmother’s did differ from each other. Age had something to do with it--Grams was almost 20 years younger than Teek. Grams was outgoing, always laughing, anxious to get to a new project, loved to entertain, was an avid bridge player, and member of various book clubs. Teek was more reserved. She lived in a small apartment, so she did not entertain and I do not remember her cooking or baking, but she did love to TREAT! Once I was able to drive, she would call me on the phone and invite me out for lunch. We would usually have hamburgers and ice cream. Teek loved ice cream! She also would slip me a buck or two for driving her, a secret we kept from my Mom!!!!

When I was young, Teek made many of my clothes and a matching outfit for my Ginny doll. She was quite a seamstress. She could look at an outfit and replicate it without a pattern. She was also a master at handwork—embroidery, knitting, and crocheting.

Grams was also a seamstress, but less conventional. Actually, it was Grams that taught me to sew! We would go into town and purchase some material and a pattern. She had the ability of designing her own outfit by putting various pattern pieces together and coming up with something new and wonderful. A trick that I made good use of during my “sewing years.” Grams never pinned the pattern onto the material. She would laugh and say, “Don’t ever do this in your home economics class!”

I suppose the telling tale is that both grandmothers’s lived within a short distance of each other, and as an elementary school child, on summer day; I would jump on my bike and peddle the 5 miles to see Grams. She would always welcome me with hugs and kisses and immediately begin planning what we would do. Magically, a suitcase of clothes would arrive and I would be visiting for the remainder of the week.

Grandmothers. Both were there to give love and support during the formative years. Both taught me good manners and passed down the valuable lessons that they had learned, but neither of them—and here is the genealogy kicker!!!—told me anything about my personal history! I think if I had a wish I could count on….I would love to have them both come back for a couple of hours so I could find out answers to all the questions that would solve my genealogy brick walls.

I miss you and love you Grams and Teek.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Cannons Mills, Ohio

I seemingly never can be totally wordless on these Wordless Wednesdays!

Although I was never able to actually locate the village of Cannons Mills, Columbiana County, Ohio, I did get the sign and the stream that runs through it, which was the power to drive the mill.

The story on this piece of my genealogy is that I descend from a Cannon/Fife marriage in Columbiana County, Ohio. I was barking up the wrong Cannon tree when I first began my research thinking that my link was John Cannon.

After several years of work, a wonderful, fellow genealogist came to my rescue! That would be Cherie of Still Digging For My Roots. Back in 1997 she found me on the net and sent me a copy of an old Fife reunion booklet compiled in 1890 (we both share the Fife surname and are distant cousins). And lo and behold, the Cannon I was related to was Lindsey Cannon, John's brother, who had the mill in St. Clair Township. Hence the name Cannons Mill.

What would we do without all those helpful, fellow researchers who go beyond the call of duty to put us on the right path!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--Purnell Houston

1755 February
Purnell Houston
Was Born he
Departed this life
March 1835

When I began writing this blog, I was going to give you the entire enchilada, but have decided to simply do the tombstone. Purnell deserves his own blog—he was quite a colorful character!

Purnell is my paternal gggg grandfather. His parents were Robert H. Houston and Mary Purnell. He was born February 1, 1755 in Somerset County, Maryland and died in Monongalia County, (West) Virginia on March 9, 1835. He is from a long line of Houston’s originating in Scotland, living in Pocomoke, Somerset County, Maryland about 1660, and moving to Milford, Sussex County, Delaware. Purnell moved his family to Morgantown, (West) Virginia around 1800.

He is buried in Mt. Union Cemetery, north of Morgantown, West Virginia on Route 119. He and his wife, Mary Houston were originally buried in what was called the old Hill Cemetery located in Morgantown. As the town and university began to grow, old pioneers from the cemetery were moved to Mt. Union.

-Mt. Union Cemetery, Route 119, Union District, Monongalia County, West Virginia.
-Virdin, Donald O., Houston Family Bible, Delaware Bible Records, Volume I, Heritage Books, page 46.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Smile for the Camera, 11 Edition--Frederick Family Children

The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is brothers & sisters? Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. Were they best friends or not? Show us that picture that you found with your family photographs or in your collection that shows your rendition of brothers & sisters.

Children of Alfred Frederick and Lucinda Orr Frederick of Columbiana County, Ohio
Photograph circa 1886

The Cast of Characters (a pretty sober bunch!):

ALBERT L. FREDERICK—the oldest born July 21, 1869, Franklin Square, Columbiana County, Ohio. Known as Bert

WILLIAM WALTER FREDERICK—born October 2, 1871, Franklin Square, Columbiana County, Ohio. Known as Walter.

ROBERT BELL FREDERICK—born October 25, 1873, Franklin Square, Columbiana County, Ohio

EDNA MAY FREDERICK—August 24, 1876, Columbiana, Columbiana County, Ohio

MARTHA MARIE FREDERICK—the baby and my grandmother born April 8, 1880, Columbiana, Columbiana County, Ohio

Martha Marie was my maternal grandmother. My pet name for her was “Teek” because we had to take a “teek-car” (streetcar) to get to her house back in the early 1950’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I spent quite a bit of time with Teek over the years as a child, teenager and young adult. She lived several years past my marriage, but I cannot remember her ever talking about her family. It’s odd since her father and I share the same birthday! Even my mother did not have any knowledge of her Frederick grandparents or her two uncles, Albert and Walter. No one ever talked about them!

Three of the Frederick children ended up in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Edna lived in Squirrel Hill and my mother told me that she and Teek talked on the telephone, but were not close. I also understand that Edna was very domineering toward Teek….maybe the older/younger sister thing! When Teek's husband, my Grandfather Stark died, folks at the funeral said that now that both sisters were widows, perhaps they would be closer--but that didn't happen!

Robert, called Bob, lived in Avalon, Pennsylvania with his family. Teek and family lived several streets away, so they saw each other frequently. According to my mother, when the Frederick’s got together for an evening or a meal, it was always “very stiff.” Not a lot of silliness or animated conversation.

Albert is missing in action. All I know of him is that he lived in Chicago in 1910 and must have died around 1925-1930 as my mother had no knowledge of him. I blogged about Albert as one of my brick walls and have had an inquiry, but I am beginning to think it is the "other Albert Frederick" who lived in Columbiana County, Ohio.....too bad!!!

Walter was a very social fellow according to his obituary; however his life was cut short by influenza in 1899.

I love the photo. It is one of the oldest pieces of personal history that I own. I am amazed at the clarity of the image as it has not been handled with much care over the years. I found it in a cardboard box along with other “old stuff” after Teek died. For years I held on to the box…….from city to city…from house to house….from attic to basement…until the genealogy bug bit me in 1993. Now it has found a home in an archival folder.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Arthurdale, West Virginia

Wouldn't we love to see this price per gallon again!!! Photos taken at Arthurdale, West Virginia in Preston County. Arthurdale was a model Federal homestead project sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt. It was one of our stops while on vacation in 2008. Check out the Arthurdale website for more information on the history.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--Elizabeth Ann VanGilder Frum

Meet my 4x grandmother, Elizabeth Ann VanGilder Frum. She was born in 1792 in Maryland to Jacob VanGilder and Anna Margaret Gibler. The VanGilder’s, early pioneers of Monongalia County, (West) Virginia, traveled over the mountains from Frederick, Maryland in the late 1790’s.

On June 11, 1815, Elizabeth married Sampson Smith Frum in Monongalia County. Sampson was to become one of the largest land owners in the county. She and Sampson raised a family of six known children, all living to adulthood and raising families of their own.

Elizabeth is buried in the Old Frum Cemetery located on a piece of Sampson’s land along Aarons Creek, outside Morgantown, West Virginia. She was the first person to be interred in the cemetery. She died on August 1, 1845 at the age of 53. The little cemetery holds the remains of four of Elizabeth and Sampson’s adult children, some of their spouses and grandchildren.

I have had an opportunity to visit twice; however, it is now impossible to get to it as a barbed wire fence has been built around the cow pasture where the cemetery is located. I have two blogs on The Old Frum Cemetery if you would like more information on this small family cemetery
The Old Frum Cemetery and The Old Frum Cemetery Revisited.

Wife of
August 1 1845
in the 53 Year of her age

My flesh shall slumber
under ground
Till his loud joyfull
trump shall sound
Then burst the lamb with
sweet surprise
And in my saviours im-
age rise


(carver's name) Morgantown, Va
-Monongalia County, West Virginia Marriage Records, Volume 1 Page 725.
-Old Frum Cemetery, Monongalia County, West Virginia.
-Wilkins, Robert Poole, Frum Family Genealogy.